Yingluck’s Whirlwind Tour of Paknam Market

The number one party list candidate for the Pheu Thai Party is Yingluck Shinawatra. She is busy campaigning now for the upcoming Thai elections in early July. Some people are speculating that she might very well be Thailand’s first female prime minister this year. To be honest, I am not sure if this will solve any of our problems as she is, of course, the sister of Thaksin, our former PM. I am worried that it might lead to a new round of street protests and more violence. However,  I am happy for Thailand if they get a woman as a prime minister. Maybe a feminine touch is just what the country needs at this time.

Yingluck has been busy travelling around the country in order to drum up support for the local candidates in the Pheu Thai Party. Which is why today she came to my neighbourhood of Samut Prakan. She started the day of in Phra Pradaeng before crossing the Chao Phraya River to meet the staunch red shirt supporters at Imperial World Samrong. From there, Yingluck and her caravan of election canvassers drove south to Paknam, which is the capital city of Samut Prakan. This is where I was waiting to take her picture for my local newspaper.

By the time I arrived at Paknam Market at about 1 p.m. there were already several hundred people. This number swelled to about 500 by the time she arrived half an hour later. It was difficult to tell who were actually Pheu Thai supporters and who were just interested onlookers. However, there were many people holding red roses and other flowers to give to Yingluck. What she was going to do was enter Paknam Market from the Southern end and exit at the other end where her car was waiting. This was the first time for me to cover an election campaign.

I really only needed one good picture for the Paknam Post newspaper and a few others for our website at www.Paknam.com. This was easier said than done. The main problem is that she was mobbed by people wanting to get close and also to have their picture taken with her. She had minders who were doing their best to keep everyone moving along. The lady to her right is our local candidate. She is the wife of a banned Thai Rak Thai politician and the owners of Imperial. To be honest, she was outshined here by Yingluck and the people that I asked couldn’t even remember her name. But then, I guess they will vote for Number 1 whoever it is.

Paknam Market is not a very big place and it is quite dark too. I didn’t really have much media competition so there was no scrum, and clashing of cameras, to get a good picture. But it wasn’t that easy and it was all over very quickly. From the time she stepped out of her car and then got back into it at the far end, about 15 minutes had passed. I like the challenge of taking pictures at live events like this one where you don’t get much control. But, I much prefer taking pictures at the cultural events, like the one I attended this morning. Hopefully out of the 200 pictures that I took of Yingluck’s whirlwind visit, the editor will be pleased with at least one or two.

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